Laura Ingalls Wilder … in jeans

Wow, October already. Perfect weather for snuggling with kittens.

My cat is cute!
My cat is so cute, yo.

Sorry to say I haven’t been out in the garden much, and it has died down a little. Trev and I got lunch at Whole Foods today, and after I got over how much cold salads (paid for by the pound) can weigh in large quantities, I ate a delicious purple beet. I love those things – pickled or boiled with a little balsamic like my mom does. If they’re really fresh like the ones the women in my family grow, they don’t need anything extra. The Whole Foods beet salad made me think about what I am going to grow next year. Beets for sure. Carrots definitely. And more lettuce.

My spring lettuce was so beautiful. But it didn't last through the summer.
My spring lettuce was so beautiful. But it didn’t last through the summer.

Next year, I will start planning and planting earlier. Maybe I’ll start some seedlings inside while it’s still cold and transplant them after the last frost. And I will try my best to keep a continuous crop by planting in phases.

I have the whole long winter to plan. Speaking of long winters, I’ve been thinking a lot about those dang pioneers that I spent hours hearing about as my parents read Little House on the Prairie books to us night-after-night before bed: Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family. After noticing that I tend to drape the doors and furniture in the house with my wet clothes instead of using the dryer so as to not wear them out, Trev bought me a clothesline and clothespins for the back patio.

Clothesline
The neighbors upstairs most likely think I’m white trash, and I feel like Ma on the prairie as I put on my shawl in the evenings to hang up petticoats and stockings. Except I put on a college sweatshirt and hang up my jeans and T-shirts. I haven’t gone so far as to hang my underwear and socks out (don’t worry; it won’t happen), but I am trying to not use the dryer as much.

In the spirit of Little House on the Prairie, I also looked up some make-your-own laundry detergent recipes. Here is where I found the recipe, and all the ingredients are at Giant. — (That’s like a HyVee or a slightly more sophisticated Wal-Mart in D.C.)

Recipe calls for:

Bar soap

Borax

Washing soda

The majority of recipes I found recommended Ivory bar soap or a natural bar soap. After my mom told me that my great-grandma Cronbaugh used to use Ivory bar soap for everything (even to wash her hair), I decided to go with that one. Anything that a gardener like my great-grandma uses that religiously HAS to be good.
The majority of recipes I found recommended Ivory bar soap or a natural bar soap. After my mom told me that my great-grandma Cronbaugh used Ivory soap for everything (even to wash her hair), I decided to go with it. It’s such a clean scent. And anything that a farmer and gardener like my great-grandma used that religiously has to be good.

I scaled down the recipe from the website as I don’t have a bowl or jar large enough to fit the in-bulk one. I grated one bar of soap and mixed it with one cup of borax and one cup of washing soda. I also added a few drops of lavender essential oil that I got from my host grandma in Provence.

My detergent works really well. It smells so fresh, and it’s cheaper and goes further than liquid soap. I use two tablespoons per load. I’d like to think it doesn’t contain as many harmful chemicals as liquid detergents, but who really knows these days.

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